Treasurer Scott Morrison was on Friday picked as Australia’s new prime minister after a Liberal party coup in a stunning upset against key challenger Peter Dutton.
Morrison, an ally of deposed leader Malcolm Turnbull, won a party-room ballot 45-40.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, another Turnbull backer, was also in the running but was eliminated in the first round of voting.
A member of the party’s conservative faction and former immigration minister, Morrison defeated former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton by 45 votes to 40 at a closed door leadership vote earlier in the day, reports CNN.
It followed days of speculation and confusion over whether now former leader Malcolm Turnbull, who took office in 2015, could maintain his grip on the premiership in the face of a conservative uprising.
The leadership crisis began on Tuesday following a backlash in the ruling Liberal Party over Turnbull’s climate change policy, which would have legislated the Paris Agreement goals.
The right-wing of the party would prefer greater investment in the country’s coal sector and policies to lower Australians’ power prices.
Dutton, a leader in the party’s conservative faction, stood against Turnbull for the leadership in a vote on Tuesday, losing only narrowly by 48 votes to 35 and all but guaranteeing a second vote.
Turnbull said on Thursday that he would step down and leave Parliament following the vote, potentially cracking the government’s slender one-seat majority and leading to a by-election or even a general election.
(With agency inputs)